On Friday, April 20th EDM fans across the world were shocked and heartbroken to hear that internationally known DJ Avicii had passed away at the incredibly young age of 28. Well-known for genre-mixing singles in the electronic dance music (EDM) world, this Grammy-nominated artist has been producing music since as young as 16 years old. By 18 he was already going on tours. So it tragic for many to see someone who had come up so quickly in his scene to be lost so soon.
DJ Avicii, born Tim Bergling of Sweden, was actually on vacation in Muscat, Oman at the time of his death, according to early reports. While the cause of death had not been confirmed, Oman police have officially ruled out “criminal suspicion”. UPDATE: A recent statement from the family has many wondering if suicide could be the cause of death.
However, many point to a number of health issues DJ Avicii was battling, including acute pancreatitis. Some sources report that this was in part due to his history of excessive drinking.
Avicii Faced His Health Issues
At only 26 years old, Avicii had announced he would be retiring from performing to focus on his health. During an interview with Rolling Stone just last year he had talked about how his lifestyle of hard partying had quickly begun to catch up to him. He told the magazine,
“It’s very easy to become too attached to partying. You become lonely and get anxieties. It becomes toxic.”
In 2013, Avicii further explained his motivations for giving up drinking with TIME magazine, saying,
“Yeah I was drinking way too much, partying in general way too much… Then I got a pancreatitis attack [at 21], which is very rare. So that forced me to do a 180 and stop drinking.”
But just because Avicii gave up drinking did not mean he gave up the party. He told TIME,
“I can be sober and party. It’s all a learning experience. I’ve gone out partying sober and I’ve met my new girlfriend from day one sober, and I’ve done everything sober. And I see how drunk everyone else is and I feel like, I kind of like not being hungover tomorrow.”
While Avicii also admitted it was stressful and brought on anxiety to face his fame and continue a demanding tour schedule, the artist was still optimistic about his sobriety. During an interview in the middle of his last worldwide tour, after announcing his retirement, he said,
“I just feel happy. I feel free at this point. Like I have my private life back and focusing on myself for the first time in a long time,”
However, Avicii did not condemn his fame. He still greatly enjoyed his career, stating:
“It was the best time of my life in a sense. It came with a price—a lot of stress [and] a lot of anxiety for me—but it was the best journey of my life.”
The documentary Avicii: True Stories was one of the first public ways that the artist had opened up about the specific health issues he was facing with acute pancreatitis. According to reports, he was first diagnosed with the condition in 2012 after a hospitalization. In 2014 there were reports that the artist even had to undergo surgery as a result of further health complications.
While there is no way of knowing if his health issues were directly responsible for his death, we may never know.
UPDATE: Statement From Avicii’s Family
Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions.
An over-achieving perfectionist who traveled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress.
When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music.
He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness.
He could not go on any longer.
He wanted to find peace.
Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight.
Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed.
The person you were and your music will keep your memory alive.
While Avicii may have suffered at some point due to his drinking, what we can be inspired by in his life is that he was not afraid to keep doing what he loved even after giving up alcohol. He was not afraid to party sober, and when he retired he did so with the desire to live free.
Have you experienced alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you’ve tried to quit drinking? Has alcohol started creating other physical, mental or emotional problems for you? If so, you might want to consider getting help for alcohol dependence. Substance dependence and addiction are medical conditions for which treatment is available. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Shernide Delva
Were you a Green Day fan growing up? Whether it was “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” or “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” most people found it impossible to avoid hearing their jams in the early 2000s. When I think back to my middle school years, their songs practically play in the background.
The ‘90s pop/punk rock band reached a plateau with their successful American Idiot album in 2004. The album reached number 1 in 19 countries and sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Suddenly, the band was headlining stadiums, and touring the globe. Lead singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong struggled to keep up with the pace.
Armstrong admits that songwriting became this “relentless thing” and he often felt he was “trying too hard.” Ultimately, this led to Armstrong fueling himself with alcohol and pills. Armstrong admits he got to the point where he was surprised to “wake up in the morning.”
Hitting Rock Bottom
Then, 2012 happened. As Rolling Stones reports, Armstrong was “blackout drunk” during a performance at the iHeartRadio festival. Armstrong had a public meltdown. He eventually smashed his guitar in a rage after the band was forced to end their set due to time constraints.
“Let me tell you something, I’ve been around since 19-fucking-88,” he screamed into the microphone, “and you’re gonna give me one fucking minute? I’m not fucking Justin Bieber, you motherfuckers.”
Armstrong’s meltdown was a long time coming. His drinking problems date back to 2003 where he was busted for a DUI. However, he did not realize the severity of his alcohol addiction until he reached his bottom that day onstage. Bassist Mike Dirnt realized at that point how bad his addiction really was:
“The fucking path had gone too far … It was, ‘We’re done. Recognize it. I can’t think about playing with you right now. You got to get right.’”
Armstrong finally made the decision to check into rehab after repeatedly trying to get sober on his own for many years. Dirnst wrote to Armstrong while he was in recovery. One letter read:
“If we make it through this and we get back together, we’re either going to be stronger than ever or we’re going to not be doing this.”
Green Day’s Comeback: New Album
Mike Dirnt might have had a point. Green day is back, and it seems like they are better than ever. The new album, Revolution Radio, comes out on October 7, and critics have already been hailing it as a major comeback for the group. It has been over four years since Green Day last released music, and they had a lot of hurdles to overcome. Thankfully, Armstrong is now sober and has been the past four years.
Reflecting on getting sober, today Armstrong says,
“My foundation was cracked,” and if he hadn’t gotten help, “I don’t know if I would be around.”
These days, instead of getting trashed, Armstrong is enjoying recovery with his family. His 20-year marriage is going strong, and his son Jakob is about to graduate high school. His son is even following in his footsteps by releasing his own music.
“I want to watch my kids go through their experiences,” Armstrong said. “I don’t want them to have to deal with that kind of darkness ever in their lives.”
Four years sober is a major accomplishment and only further exemplifies the importance of seeking treatment. You have the opportunity to live a life free of drugs and alcohol. All it takes is taking that first step. We can teach you to live a happy, healthy life in recovery. All you have to do is call. Do not wait.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Scott Weiland, the lead singer of the band Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver has passed. Weiland, who was known for his musical talent as well as his unending battles with drug addiction, was found dead while on tour with his latest band The Wildabouts.
Although his tour manager Tom Vitorino confirmed his death, he did not disclose the cause. However, many were not surprised to hear of Weiland’s death as he struggled on and off for decades with drug addiction issues.
A post on his facebook page was made that stated:
“Scott Weiland, best known as the lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, passed away in his sleep while on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minnesota, with his band The Wildabouts. At this time we ask that the privacy of Scott’s family be respected.”
A powerful baritone, Weiland was the lead vocalist of the band The Stone Temple Pilots at the height of the grunge movement. Although critics accused the band of copying famous groups like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, The Stone Temple Pilot’s first two albums sold over 10 million copies. They won a Grammy for the song “Plush” and had monster hits with “Vasoline,” and “Interstate Love Song.”
Wieland’s voice was famous for being effortlessly raspy. His flamboyant personality was a hit during live shows. However, his drug addiction was not. Weiland missed shows repeatedly and was in and out of rehab. His drug addiction forced The Stone Temple Pilots to go into a forced hiatus after their thirst album “Tiny Music … Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop,” which sold 2 million copies and was widely praised.
It was said in a press statement that Weiland had
“become unable to rehearse or appear for these shows due to his dependency on drugs. He is currently under a doctor’s care in a medical facility.”
The band finally called it quits in 2003. Although there were short reunions, Weiland continued to struggle with his addiction to drugs. With time, Weiland joined the band Velvet Revolver which was formed by former Guns N’ Roses members.
Weiland was able to deliver the hits once again with songs in the album “Contraband,” that sold more than 3 million copies and boasted the massive hit, “Slither.” He was back in the game but his drug addiction still loomed in the background.
The reports of Weiland’s death first circulated Thursday night after fellow rocker Dave Navarro tweeted:
“Just learned our friend Scott Weiland has died. So gutted, I am thinking of his family tonight.” Soon after, the tweet was removed.
In 2011, Weiland wrote in his autobiography at great length about how drugs and the allure of the wild life fascinated him as a rising artist:
“I associated heroin with romance, glamour, danger, and rock ’n roll excess,” he said.
Later that year, in an interview to Spin Magazine, he elaborated further
“The opiate took me to where I’d always dreamed of going. I can’t name the place, but I can say that I was undisturbed and unafraid, a free-floating man in a space without demons and doubts.”
Unfortunately, in the end, some argue Weiland was known more for his disease than his art. A viral video showed Weiland performing with the Wildabouts. His demeanor looked far from sober: barely present, foggy eyes, and lost.
Weiland knew of his addiction well and he did everything in his power to overcome it.
“I’m a tenacious drug addict,” he wrote. “I give it up and I don’t give it up. I put it down and I pick it up. But I’m also a tenacious recoverer. I never quit trying to quit. That counts for something.”
Unfortunately, for many, drug addiction takes over after years of substance abuse and it becomes close to impossible to quit. If you suffer from drug addiction, the earlier you seek treatment, the lower the chances of you going through a cycle of sobriety and relapsing.
Fight this addiction before it get out of control. Drug addiction is a disease and we can help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
-Author: Shernide Delva
Author: Justin Mckibben
Singer Simone Battle was a beautiful and talented young woman, a finalist who made it through to the top 17 talented musicians in the United States popular 2011 series The X Factor, and this past Friday she tragically took her own life. The heart-wrenching news was initially reported on after a post on Twitter by producer Derek Butler, who shared a picture of the star, writing:
“I’m still in shock and in disbelief to have confirmed the death of my childhood friend @SimoneBattle,”
Simone Battle was 25 years old, and leaves behind a touching story of a quick rise to star status that was abruptly cut short for reasons that at this point can only be subject to speculation. Was it a history of depression, or maybe a sudden life change that overwhelmed her? Or could there be some link to any external factors? Whatever the cause, the music world will be deprived another beautiful voice matched with a dazzling smile.
Details on Battles Tragic Death
Simone Battle was found hanged in her home in Los Angeles according to US reports from American gossip site TMZ. The press is currently claiming police sources informed them the G.R.L singer committed suicide in her West Hollywood apartment, information on the 25-year-old singer’s tragic death that was later confirmed in a statement on Saturday. According to the reports, Simone was found hanging on a rod in the closet of her bedroom around 8:30 AM on Friday morning.
Reign Deer Entertainment, Robin Antin, Kemosabe Records, and RCA Records released a statement expressing deep sympathies for the family of the up and coming star, and mourning the loss of this talented young woman, stating:
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the loss of Simone Battle of G.R.L., Simone was an exceptional young talent and human being, and we are all devastated to learn of her passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones at this time.”
The Life of Simone Battles
Battle grew up in Los Angeles, where she did some part time modeling and work in television and movies before ending up on tour with the Black Eyed Peas after high school, according to RCA records. Battle had told RCA records during her time with the company that she knew she wanted to be a singer after her dad had played a tape of Whitney Houston singing her blockbuster song ‘I Will Always Love You’ as a child. Simone said to RCA Records,
“After that I played the tape over and over till it unwound. I love Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, and Dorothy Dandridge, but Whitney definitely inspired my dream to be a singer.”
Battle attended the University of Southern California before her original audition for the first season of The X Factor. After being kicked off the show, she released her song ‘He Likes Boys’ before joining the music group G.R.L. and working toward the super-groups big musical debut.
She was one of the incredibly musical girls in Simon Cowell’s category, and following her success on the show she was named as one of the members of G.R.L. which is commonly referred to as the second generation reboot of the popular female super-group Pussycat Dolls by original creator Robin Antin.
The group, which is made up of Lauren Bennett, Emmalyn Estrada, Natasha Slayton, Paula van Oppen and Simone opted for a different name than the original Pussycat Dolls, donning the title G.R.L., and very quickly those ladies were on the verge of becoming household names. Their single ‘Wild Wild Love’ with hip-hop artist Pitbull reached number six in the UK charts. The G.R.L. newest single ‘Ugly Heart’ was released in the UK just this week.
Suicide and Substance Abuse
Suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year. Unknown to most, substance abuse is the second most common cause that factors into substantial suicide risk, directly after major depression and bipolar disorder. Both chronic substance abuse and addiction, as well as acute intoxication are closely connected with suicide. In combination with personal emotional strain such as mourning, the risk of suicide is easily amplified. Additionally substance abuse is associated with mental health disorders.
So it should come as no surprise a vast majority of people who commit suicide are under the influence of sedative type depressive substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines .
- Alcoholism is actually present in between 15% and 61% of cases of suicide.
- Countries that have higher rates of alcohol use and a greater density of bars generally also have higher rates of suicide.
- About 2.2–3.4% of those who have been treated for alcoholism at some point in their life die by suicide.
- Alcoholics who attempt suicide are usually males, have tried to commit suicide in the past, and are often older, although it is clear that these are not the only people at risk.
- Between 3 and 35% of deaths among those who use heroin are due to suicide.
Just these few statistics on suicide and substance abuse make it absolutely clear that addicts and alcoholics, especially those who abuse substances that are typically referred to as depressants, put themselves at an extreme risk of suicide.
While it is not yet determined whether drugs or alcohol are at all related to Simone Battles sudden and saddening death as no additional information has been released, it is very clear the relation to the desperation and despair that people experience who find no other answer than to take their own life. Suicide is common among addicts and alcoholics, and I myself as an addict and alcoholic have survived suicide attempts of my own in the past, which I clearly can connect to my drinking and drug use. The death of Simone Battles also closely follows the death of celebrated actor and comedian Robin Williams, which was also determined to be a suicide.
Any time I see a story like this it hits close to home, because I have lived in a similar mind-state. On average 1 person dies by suicide every 13.3 minutes, and this statistic is especially disturbing and devastating due to the fact that an astounding 80% of those who seek treatment for depression closely related to suicide recover successfully.
I have pushed off the edge as many addicts and alcoholics do, only to be brought back. So when I see someone who was experienced enough pain to put themselves in that position, and not make it back, it breaks my heart. My sympathy and my prayers go out to the family and loved ones of Simone Battles, and to the addicts and alcoholics out there who will take their own lives today.
Rest In Peace
June 17th, 1989 – September 5th 2014
Substance abuse and suicide go hand in hand in more ways than most people care to see, and both are created by treatable circumstances but too often lead to avoidable tragedies. Whether the cause is mental health and mood disorders, or an unhealthy life-style, suicide is a permanent escape from a temporary problem. Quite often the problem is not worth nearly as much as the people who lose their lives for it, and there are real solutions out there to not only find peace, but happiness and a life worth living for. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Is it a muse to self-medicate? Do artists, musicians and other innovative thinkers have a defective piece of the personality puzzle that makes us more vulnerable to drinking and drugs? Creativity is an art of the imagination that some believe may be both an amazing gift and a self-destructing curse, due to the fact that so many suspect creative types may be more susceptible to developing addictions. Scientists and psychology researchers have pondered for years the link between creativity and mood disorders and mental illness such as depression and bipolar disorder. And in the same light there has been much speculation as to the roll of addiction and alcoholism in the lives of great artists, writers, actors and other inspired minds.
Addiction is very frequently considered to be a mental illness in many respects. Most experts say mental illness does not necessarily cause creativity, nor does creativity necessarily contribute to any specific mental illness, but a certain deliberating personality type may contribute to mental health issues, behavioral disorders, addiction and art.
The Creative Genetics
Part of the body’s internal rewards system is regulated and stimulated by neurotransmitters that experience activity through dopamine, a pleasure chemical released into the brain through certain activities. It has been suggested that both creativity and addiction are both created by diminished dopamine functioning.
According to neuroscientist David Linden of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine there are several factors that weigh in on both addiction and creativity, but this is in no way a sure fire formula for addiction. So as far as Lindens theories are concerned there is no direct link, however he states there is a noticeable connection between addiction and things which are typically perceived as a prerequisite for creativity.
Very specific genetic variants make for the low-functioning dopamine system, specifically the brains D2 receptors. If you carry these variants, you are more likely to exhibit behaviors like:
- Tendency to act impulsively
- Tendency to value nonconformity
- A need for regular stimulation or excitement
- Being prone to attention seeking
- Enjoyment of taking risks
None of the above listed characteristics are exclusively credited to creative thinkers, but they are attributes that are symptoms of creativity and addiction. Luckily there is the upside to these traits that come from having low dopamine function, because they can contribute to people having great success in the world out of a thirst for fulfillment through actively creating and striving.
Genetics is not 100 percent of the source of creativity, or addiction. In fact genetics maybe contributes to about 40 percent of the equation in any respect. It’s possible to carry the variants and not be an addict, and it is possible be an addict without these variants. The individual’s environment always factors in. So in a matter of science thus far there is no evidence that addiction is a product of creativity, although chemically they have very similar designs.
There are a lot of indications that creative types on average have a great possibility to develop substance abuse issues, but to say it is the reason for addiction is not true. Sadly this pattern is a self-fulfilling prophecy because many artists and creators believe that they are more inspired when intoxicated, and so they spend more time drinking and using drugs because they feel they need it in order to produce quality work.
Many artists fear giving up their addictions based on the belief that their imagination and muse comes from their substance abuse, and that once they sober up they will lose their creative character. Historically this is typically the opposite. Whenever there has been an artist who spent a great deal of time creating while in active addiction and then they gave it up, their work actually got exponentially better. When author Stephen King gave up his alcoholic life, he wrote his best work to date. Painter Jackson Pollock shaped his most famous pieces during a 2 year period of sobriety.
Ultimately there is not enough concrete evidence to support the idea that creativity enforces addiction, but there is most likely a connection in the creative types and the personality types that statistically become addicts considering the links between mental illness and creativity, and the generic parallels between addiction and creativity. Like being creative is actually the most beautiful form of mental illness.
Creative Passion in Recovery
Creative passion and that mode of out-of-the-box thinking is commonly credited to individuals who are said to be more thoughtful and original. Their ability to create and express themselves in many ways that give the rest of the world new music, art, poetry or even science is very much a product of their ability to perceive the world in a unique way, and develop new ideas based off the appreciation they show to the things others often miss.
Essentially, because addiction is also a disease of perception it is easy to see how people would relate the causes and the effects of addiction closely to creativity. Both blaming creativity for addiction, while persisting that creativity is a bi-product of substance abuse. That second thought is most definitely NOT the case. Drugs and alcohol actually damage the minds capabilities to generate new and unique concepts.
In order to maintain creative passion in sobriety, there is plenty of work you can try to use to stimulate those senses you may have told yourself you have lost.
- Meditation– even just some quiet time alone is healthy for the mind to wonder and try new ideas with itself
- Exercise– going on walks, jogging, etc. can help to stimulate the mind and body by activating your energy and taking in the world around you
- Journalism– not just to give your mind a back-up for reminding you of your new ideas, but to get the creative mind working on itself by starting with those ideas and expanding on them, taking notes on thoughts and letting them evolve
All in all it is understandable why people would assume to relate addiction so closely to creativity. With so many celebrities and artists in the world notorious for substance abuse, and with countless tragic deaths of talented men and women over the years from drugs and alcohol it is natural that people would wonder if the individual with an active imagination is more prone to become addicted to drugs and alcohol. With the stigma that substance abuse also inspires creativity this also makes sense, but at the end of the day there is only a slight indication that it really matters at all. Addiction, mental illness, and creativity are all about perception, and how our perspective influences us to live our lives.
Personally I used believe I was doomed to addiction because I was creative. My passion for art and music must have meant I was destined to be an alcoholic and drug addict, but once I found recovery I realized that this was just another cop-out I gave myself to not stop drinking and using. If that were true, I should have started up an ‘Artists Anonymous’ group. Then when I got sober I was terrified I had lost the inspiration needed to do those things, but I actually rediscovered a new-found respect and passion for the arts and music I loved so much that are such a big part of who I am as an individual. So in theory it may be that artists statistically are prone to depression, and depressive people are more prone to addiction. However I know that these conditions can exist all on their own, and I can exist on my own now without drugs or alcohol, and I see life through an artist perspective more than ever.
Having an inventive or artistic muse is not a requirement or a result of addiction. While it may be true that a noticeable amount of people experiencing addiction are creative and talented individuals, there is still a vast majority of creatives who are not addicts or alcoholics. Either way, whether a creative type or not, an addict or alcoholic is in the grips of a disease that diminishes the mind, body and spirit and deconstructs the most unique parts of our perspective and personality that make us who we are. By taking action to get help you are taking the steps needed to save not just who you are, but your life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135